*Name changed for privacy and protection
Story edited by Kelly Longmore
My [then] partner of five years was an Army Reservist. During our relationship, he was stationed in Kuwait for eleven months. After he came back he was different. He would disappear for hours, wouldn’t answer my calls, and I learned he might be cheating on me. Eight months later, he ended our relationship. Then, things took a turn for the worst.
He started obsessively texting and emailing me, insisted I meet him to get my belongings, then, suddenly, was convinced we had to get married. Several people tried to talk him out of it, including my parents. Mutual friends talked him into meeting with a counselor. The counselor then asked to meet with me privately. My Ex showed up uninvited to this counseling session —then he was told to stop contacting me. He didn’t.
A couple weeks later, he showed up at my apartment during a snowstorm to talk. I let him in. I explained that it was over, he needed to move on – leave me alone. I felt like this would be the end of it.
"Then, in early January 2016, he showed up at my apartment raging."
I’d been out of town for the past week, and he’d been stalking me – driving past my home each night, getting more and more upset when I didn’t return home. That January night, I saw his jeep pull up and my heart dropped. I just knew this was going to be bad. I called mutual friends and my partner for help.
He was pounding on my door and screaming for me to let him in, demanding to know where I’d been. He tried to force the door – then stood below my deck screaming at me. That’s when I called 911.
While speaking to the operator, my Ex used his jeep to climb up to my sliding glass door – pulling and banging to get in. I was terrified. The police arrived as he was climbing down and questioned him. He lied about what was happening. When they spoke to me, I was in shock. I didn’t know I had to say the words, “I want him arrested,” so they let him go.
The officers gave me some D.V. resources. Then the police department called with some tips and to see if I had a safety plan in place. Then the counselor, who knew about the incident and had talked to my Ex, called me, telling me to file for a protection order TODAY.
The day of the court hearing I was terrified to see him, but the D.V. advocate kept us visually separated at all times. The judge listened to both our testimonies, and in the end said, “Protective Order Granted.” Those words brought a flood of relief.
Two months later, I finally returned to my apartment. It took a long time to feel normal again. Still, the sight of a black, lifted jeep will make me panic.
"I was amazed how supportive my friends and family were in through all this. But I was appalled at how little some people knew about D.V."
Many people questioned why I was taking him to court and warned me of the implications this would have for him, or how he was just in love with me. They didn’t realize what stalking can turn into – how it can turn deadly. I truly believe that had the lock on my door not held that night, I might not be here today.